Top Shia cleric Sistani slams Bahrain violence

News article, posted 03.17.2011, from Iraq, in:
Press TV
Leading Iraqi Shia Cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani

Expressing grave concerns about Manama's harsh measures against unarmed civilians over the past few days, the highly influential Ayatollah Sistani emphasized Wednesday on the necessity to resolve problems in the Shia-majority country “through peaceful means,” his spokesman Hamad al-Khaffaf, told AFP. 

The statement came after hundreds of Bahraini riot police and Saudi forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, attacked demonstrators in Manama's Pearl Square, the epicenter of anti-government protests, where demonstrators have camped out for weeks, killing at least six people and injuring more than 1,000 others. 

The city's main hospital, where the injured were being treated, was also attacked by Saudi forces and everyone inside the building, including doctors and nurses, were taken hostage. 

Shias around the world have condemned the brutal crackdown by the ruling Sunni dynasty. 

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qatar have dispatched their armed forces to crisis-hit Bahrain to assist the rulers in Manama with their brutal crackdown on nationwide protests against the Sunni-led monarchy's persistent suppression of the majority Shia population. 

Foreign military intervention in Bahrain has also concerned UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has called for a meaningful and broad-based national dialogue.